Frequently Asked Questions about Bedikas ChametzWhat is the proper time to perform bedikas chametz?

Bedikas Chametz should ideally be performed immediately after nightfall of the 14th of Nissan.[3] 

  1. 2)How thorough must I be during the bedikah?

Bedikas Chametz is not just a ceremony where one looks for the ten hidden pieces.  One must check all of the places where there may be chametz.[5]

  1. 3)I already cleaned my whole house and I can guarantee that there is no chametz to be found.  Do I still have to perform bedikas chametz?  If so, what am I looking for?

You must perform bedikas chametz even the entire house is already checked.[7]

  1. 4)I am going to family for Pesach and I am arriving there before the time for bedikas chametz.  What should I do about bedikas chametz in my home and in their home?

There is an obligation to check your home, even if you are not going to be there on Pesach. [9] and you should not recite a beracha.[11]  You may participate in the bedikas chametz of your host by listening to his beracha and performing the bedikah in the room that is designated for your Pesach stay.I am selling all of the chametz in my home and I am leaving for Pesach after the time for bedikas chametz.  Do I still have to perform bedikas chametz?  If so, what am I looking for?


Yes, you must still perform bedikas chametz.Should I check my office during bedikas chametz?


If you own or rent the office, the rules of bedikas chametz apply as if it were one of the rooms of the house.[15] If the office is far away, you are not required to return to the office.  Rather, you should check the office on the 13th of Nissan without a Beracha  before leaving the office and then mentally confirm that you checked the entire office during bedikas chametz.Should I check my car during bedikas chametz?

  1. Yes. There are three options for this particular check: Using a flashlight instead of a candle[18]
  1. 8)May I use a flashlight instead of a candle?

Ideally, you should use a candle.  However, if there is a need to use a flashlight, you should use a flashlight.[20]  

  1. 9)Can the task of checking the whole house be split among family members?
  1. If you do this, one person should recite the beracha and then each family member can check a part of the house.[22]
  1. 10)I am going to a hotel for Pesach and arriving a few hours before Pesach.  What should I do when I get to the hotel?


If the room was not checked for chametz, you should perform a bedikah with a beracha.[24]

  1. 11)I put out ten pieces and I lost one of them.  What do I do?

You should recheck the house.  If you don't find the piece after the second bedikah, you may rely on bitul chametz to nullify the piece.[26]

  1. 12)Am I allowed to eat chametz in my house after I perform bedikas chametz?


Yes, but you should be very careful to keep track of all of the chametz that is brought into the room.I am leaving my house to go away for Pesach right after bedikas chametz.  Should I bring my chametz with me for bi'ur chametz or should I dispose of it before my trip?


It is preferable to perform bi'ur chametz in the morning.  However, if you are concerned about losing some of the chametz, you may perform bi'ur chametz immediately after the bedikah.[29]

  1. 14)I am going to be in a place where I can't burn my chametz.  Is there another acceptable way of disposing of it?


While it is preferable to burn the chametz,[31]  Note: It is preferable to burn your chametz in a communal burning because it is safer and because chametz tends to get toasted rather than burned in a smaller fire.  When bringing your chametz to the JEC to be burned on erev Pesach, please only bring "real" chametz (not, for example, corn flakes).  It should be wrapped in paper bags or cardboard and not plastic.  As a precautionary measure, the fire department will be on hand on the JEC premises that morning.

  1. 15)May I recite bitul chametz (Kol Chamira) in English?


If you don't understand the Aramaic, you must recite it in a language that you understand.What is the last time to dispose of my chametz?

The latest time to dispose of the chametz properly is five halachic hours into the day.[34]

[2] Shulchan Aruch, O.C. 431:1 and Mishna Berurah 431:1.

[4] Shulchan Aruch, O.C. 433:3.

[6] Shulchan Aruch, O.C. 433:11.

[8] Shulchan Aruch, O.C. 436:1.

[10] Rama, O.C. 436:1.

[12] See note 33.

[14] Mishna Berurah 432:7.

[16] R. Chaim Linder, Bedikat Chametz U'Biuro 4:6.  His rationale is based on the fact that one may rely on a bedikah that was performed earlier and then use the actual bedikah to confirm that those places were checked.  As such, in theory, one does not have to be at the actual location in order to confirm that it has been checked.

[18] R. Gavriel Tzinner, Nitei Gavriel, Pesach 21:1

[20] R. Shlomo Zalman Auerbach in Halichot Shlomo, Orchot Halacha 5:19.

[22] Mishna Berurah 432:8.  [See Teshuvot V'Hanhagot 2:214 who notes that Mishna Berurah's stringency depends on each situation.]

[24] R. Yosef D. Weingarten in Kovetz Darchei Hora'ah Vol. VII pg. 38, compares this case to someone who performed bedikat chametz on his home on the 14th at night and then discovered the next day that the home must be rechecked.  Mishna Berurah 435:5, presents a dispute as to whether one should recite another beracha and concludes that one should not.  R. Asher Weiss, in Kovetz Darchei Hora'ah Vol. VII pg. 83, also rules that one should not recite a beracha on a hotel room unless the bedikah is performed in its proper time.

[26] Sha'arei Teshuva, O.C. 432:7.  The leniency is based on other mitigating factors including the distinction between losing the piece after bedikah and not being able to find the piece during the bedikah.  Mishna Berurah references the comments of Sha'arei Teshuva.

[28] Rama, O.C. 445:1.

[30] Rama, O.C. 445:1.

[32] Rama O.C. 434:2, and Mishna Berurah 434:9.

[34] There is a general dispute between Magen Avraham and the Vilna Gaon as to how to calculate halachic hours.  The most prominent application is with regards to the latest time for reciting K'riat Sh'ma.  Many of the calendars present Magen Avraham's time for the final time for eating and disposing of chametz.  According to the Vilna Gaon, the final time for eating and disposing of chametz occurs slightly later.